The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $1,156,838 grant to the Port of Pittsburgh Commission on July 28 to oversee extensive repowering of four marine towing vessels with new, more efficient diesel engines and generators that will reduce air pollution, improve air quality and lessen overall environmental impacts. The grant was awarded under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act.
“Putting clean diesel engines in these hard-working marine vessels will bring cleaner, healthier air for communities along the Port’s 200-miles of navigable waterways,” said EPA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin.
EPA and the Port were joined by the Allegheny County Health Department, the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), Clean Water Action Network, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and representatives from the three cooperating companies - - Campbell Transportation Company, Consol Energy and River Salvage, Inc.
“This grant, and the actions of these companies, will take the greenest, least polluting mode of surface transportation, and make it even greener. Each tow of 15 barges moves the equivalent of over 1,000 trucks. This industry is very proud of the contribution we make to reducing congestion and air pollution. Just by taking trucks off of the roads, we serve industries that could not be located here without the waterways. Today we can be even prouder,” said James McCarville, Executive Director of the Port of Pittsburgh Commission.
In addition to EPA’s grant, the Pittsburgh Port Commission and three participating private companies will spend $1.97m for a total of more than $3m to repower the four vessels with cleaner burning engines. Each year, the engines will eliminate over 112 tons of nitrous oxide, 15 tons of carbon monoxide, five tons of particulate matter and two tons of hydrocarbons from the local air.
Clean diesel projects help address health issues including asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments.
The Port of Pittsburgh is the second busiest inland port in the U.S., moving 30 to 40 million tons of cargo a year worth $6.6b. The Port provides an annual benefit to the region of $873m and provides 45,000 jobs.